Dare to Stay by Georgia Beers is not only the last book in her Puppy Love series, it’s also the best. It captured my heart and managed to do what I didn’t think was possible by tying Too Close to Touch as my favourite book by this author.
Running Junebug Farms isn’t just a job for Jessica Barstow, it’s her life and has been since her grandmother passed away and left the animal shelter to her. Fundraising is a huge part of keeping the doors open and bringing animals and their new families together, and with the annual telethon coming up, Jessica is barrelling towards the busiest time of year. If only the reporter she had worked with for all of the previous telethons hadn’t retired, leaving her working with someone new who wants to change everything.
Sydney Taylor is on a mission to get to the top of the TV reporting game. This new gig at a tiny town in upstate New York isn’t really what she wants to do, but it’s a stepping stone and damned if she isn’t going to make this telethon the best it can be. Jessica Barstow might be difficult to work with, but at least she’s sexy and surprisingly easy to talk to outside of the shelter. Sydney doesn’t stay in any one place for long and doesn’t do relationships, but it’s not like there’s any harm in looking. Those fluttery feelings definitely don’t mean anything, right?
I’ve been excited to read Jessica’s book since I found out she was getting one, and Dare to Stay did not disappoint. She’s smart and business savvy, and yet she has the biggest heart for the animals. I melted when I read about her occasionally staying overnight to sleep snuggled up with one of the troubled dogs. She just wants to do what’s right for the shelter, which is what drives her antagonism towards Sydney and her suggested changes for the telethon, and yet it’s the same instinct that leads her to accept many of those changes.
Of the two leads, Sydney undergoes the most drastic changes. She doesn’t trust easily and doesn’t form relationships other than with her best friend, and for very good reason. That aspect of her personality works well with her drive to succeed in her industry, making it easy for her to pick up and leave for better work at any time. I so enjoyed seeing her grow as she moved from being attracted to Jessica to accepting her feelings, and I would love to see them make a cameo in a future book to confirm my belief that she eventually is even able to lay down roots.
Lisa and Ashley from Rescued Heart and Catherine and Emily from Run to You also make appearances, although we see much more of the latter couple than the former. I love Catherine and Jessica’s friendship and am so glad we got to see so much of it in this book.
The Writing Style
The writing in Dare to Stay is so good. The pacing is perfect and the relationship development is exactly appropriate for who Sydney and Jessica are as people. I think Georgia Beers made an interesting choice by only taking us as far as she did with their relationship and it worked perfectly.
Everything? I loved this book. If pressed to pick a standout element, it would have to be the delicious build and tension to Jessica and Sydney’s relationship. Also their kissing was so, so hot. So hot. The book is worth picking up for that alone, and yet it’s got so much else going for it like those likeable, relatable characters and adorable animals.
None at all.
This book was a homerun for me. If you haven’t read any of the other Puppy Love books, you could probably read this one on its own and still have a great time. If you’ve enjoyed the other two books, you’ll love this one. It’s Georgia Beers at her best and I wholeheartedly recommend it.
Excerpt from Dare to Stay by Georgia Beers
Jessica sat back down behind her desk with a thud and lifted the bottle to her lips, but stopped when she heard, “Wait!” Sydney stood up and leaned toward her. “You can’t sip without cheering. It’s bad luck.”
“Absolutely. Trust me on this. My mom’s family is Irish. We know the rules around alcohol.” Raising her bottle, she said simply, “Here’s to it,” and touched her bottle to Jessica’s with a soft clink.
“That’s it? ‘Here’s to it’? I was all prepared for some wise, traditional anecdote.”
“Oh, no. I said we’re Irish, not poets. We want to drink as quickly as possible.” Sydney grinned, then sipped.
“Mm, this is really good.” Sydney licked her lips while Jessica tried not to watch. And failed. Is it getting warm in here?
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Puppy Love Series
Dare To Stay
Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9780996677462
- Publisher: Brisk Press
Georgia Beers Online
Note: I received a free review copy of Dare to Stay by Georgia Beers. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.